Thomas W. Sneddon Jr.

Last updated
Thomas W Sneddon Jr.
Thomas William Sneddon

May 26, 1941
DiedNovember 1, 2014(2014-11-01) (aged 73)
Occupation33rd District Attorney of Santa Barbara County (retired)
Spouse(s)Pamela Sneddon

Thomas William Sneddon Jr. (May 26, 1941 – November 1, 2014) was the district attorney of Santa Barbara County, California. He had more than two decades of experience as a District Attorney, and more than three decades of experience as a prosecutor. He is best known for leading two investigations of Michael Jackson on child sexual abuse allegations in 1993 and 2005. His most famous case was when he was prosecuting child molestation charges against entertainer Michael Jackson in the trial People v. Jackson in 2005, at the end of which Jackson was acquitted. [1]


Life and career

Sneddon was born in Los Angeles in 1941 [2] and grew up in Northern California. In 1963 Sneddon graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he was on the boxing team, and in 1966 from UCLA Law School, where he met his wife. From 1967 to 1969 he served in the U.S. Army. [1]

From November 1969 until May 1977, Sneddon served as a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Barbara County. In 1977, he was promoted to the position of Supervisor of Criminal Operations. On January 3, 1983, Sneddon became the 33rd District Attorney of Santa Barbara County and was re-elected without opposition for five terms. In 2010 he retired from the DA's office. [1]

A father of 9 children, Sneddon was Chair of the Committee for Child Support Enforcement since its inception in 1991. He was presented with a "Director's Award" in 1995 by the California Family Support Council. A year later he was appointed co-chair of the National District Attorney's Child Support Committee and invited by the US Attorney General Janet Reno to be a member of the Presidential Commission's Federal Task Force to review and enhance federal criminal prosecutions for failure to pay child support. [ citation needed ]

Prosecution of Michael Jackson

His most publicized cases were his two investigations of Michael Jackson on child sexual abuse allegations in 1993 and 2003, 2004, and 2005. The first criminal investigation was closed with no charges; Jackson settled a related civil suit with a civil settlement of over $15 million to the plaintiff Jordan Chandler, who ceased cooperating with investigators after two grand juries returned a refusal to indict Jackson.

The second set of allegations against Jackson resulted in a trial which ended on June 13, 2005, with Jackson's acquittal. [3] [4] In 1995 Jackson wrote a song about him, titled "D.S." Sneddon denied ever listening to the song. [5]

Jackson reportedly kept an “enemy list” on which Sneddon appeared, along with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, illusionist Uri Geller, music executive Tommy Mottola, attorney Gloria Allred, and Janet Arvizo, mother of a Jackson accuser. [6]


Sneddon died on November 1, 2014. He was 73.

Related Research Articles

Uri Geller Israeli-British illusionist and self-proclaimed psychic

Uri Geller is an Israeli-British illusionist, magician, television personality, and self-proclaimed psychic. He is known for his trademark television performances of spoon bending and other illusions. Geller uses conjuring tricks to simulate the effects of psychokinesis and telepathy. Geller's career as an entertainer has spanned more than four decades, with television shows and appearances in many countries. Magicians have called Geller a fraud due to his claims of possessing psychic powers.

Thomas Daniel Mottola is an American music executive, producer and author. Mottola is currently the Chairman of Mottola Media Group and was previously the Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, parent of the Columbia label, for nearly 15 years. Since 2000, he has been married to Mexican actress and singer Thalía.

McMartin preschool trial Day care sexual abuse case in the 1980s that overlapped with the Satanic ritual abuse panic

The McMartin preschool trial was a day care sexual abuse case in the 1980s, prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner. Members of the McMartin family, who operated a preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, were charged with hundreds of acts of sexual abuse of children in their care. Accusations were made in 1983, arrests and the pretrial investigation took place from 1984 to 1987, and trials ran from 1987 to 1990. The case lasted seven years but resulted in no convictions, and all charges were dropped in 1990. By the case's end, it had become the longest and most expensive series of criminal trials in American history. The case was part of day-care sex-abuse hysteria, a moral panic over alleged Satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s.

People v. Jackson was a 2005 criminal trial held in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, California. American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, who was 13 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, at his Neverland Ranch estate in Los Olivos, California.

Thomas Mesereau American attorney (born 1950)

Thomas Arthur Mesereau Jr. is an American attorney best known for successfully defending Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial, as well as representing many other celebrities.

Shmuley Boteach American Orthodox rabbi and writer

Jacob Shmuel "Shmuley" Boteach is an American Orthodox Jewish rabbi, author, and TV host. Boteach is the author of 31 books, including the best seller Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy, and Kosher Jesus. For two seasons he hosted the prime time television series Shalom in the Home, which was one of TLC's highest-rated shows. His outspokenness has earned him praise and criticism. The Washington Post referred to him as "the most famous rabbi in America," Newsweek named him one of the 10 most influential rabbis in the United States, and The Jerusalem Post named him one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, established in 1989, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization support group of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters in the United States. Barbara Blaine, a survivor of sex abuse by a priest, was the founding president. SNAP, which initially focused on the Roman Catholic Church, had 12,000 members in 56 countries as of 2012. It has branches for religious groups, such as SNAP Baptist, SNAP Orthodox, and SNAP Presbyterian, for non-religious groups, and for geographic regions, e.g., SNAP Australia and SNAP Germany.

"D.S." is a song by Michael Jackson, released on his 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It is a rock song that conveys themes such as bitterness, mistrust and corruption within law enforcement. It was written, composed and produced by Jackson and includes an instrumental accompaniment & guitar solo by Slash.

In February 1993, Evan Chandler, a dentist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles, accused the American singer Michael Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son, Jordan Chandler. Jackson had befriended Jordan after renting a vehicle from Jordan's stepfather. Though Evan Chandler initially encouraged the friendship, he later confronted his ex-wife, who had custody of Jordan, with suspicions that the relationship was inappropriate.

Rodney Scott Melville is a presiding judge in Santa Barbara County's superior court. He was the judge in Michael Jackson's 2005 child molestion trial, in which Jackson was acquitted.

The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, U.S., is a significant episode in the series of Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States, Ireland and elsewhere. The Philadelphia abuses were substantially revealed through a grand jury investigation in 2005. In early 2011, a new grand jury reported extensive new charges of abusive priests active in the archdiocese. In 2012, a guilty plea by priest Edward Avery and the related trial and conviction of Monsignor William Lynn and mistrial on charges against Rev. James J. Brennan followed from the grand jury's investigations. In 2013, Rev. Charles Engelhardt and teacher Bernard Shero were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. Lynn was the first official to be convicted in the United States of covering up abuses by other priests in his charge and other senior church officials have been extensively criticized for their management of the issue in the archdiocese.

Diane Dimond American journalist

Diane Dimond is an American investigative journalist, author, syndicated columnist, and TV commentator.

Personal relationships of Michael Jackson Overview of the personal relationships of Michael Jackson

The personal relationships of Michael Jackson have been the subject of public and media attention for several decades. He was introduced to the topic of sexual activity at the age of nine while a member of the Jackson 5. He and his brothers would perform at strip clubs, sharing the bill with female strippers and drag queens, and the sexual adventures of his brothers with groupies further affected Jackson's early life. The entertainer said his first real girlfriend was the child actress Tatum O'Neal, when he was a teenager in the 1970s; he called her "my first love – after Diana Ross." The pair eventually "cooled off" and Jackson entered into a romance with model Brooke Shields in 1981. Although the relationship was platonic, Shields said there were times he had asked her to marry him, but as he grew older he started to change physically and became more asexual towards her.

Bernard F. Baran Jr. was an American day care employee wrongfully convicted in the day care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s that was spawned by the McMartin preschool trial.

Józef Wesołowski was a Polish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was an archbishop from 2000 until being laicized by the Holy See in 2014. He was the Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic from January 2008 until he was recalled in August 2013. Authorities in the Dominican Republic were investigating allegations of child abuse against him. In June 2015, the Vatican announced he would stand trial on charges of possessing child pornography, for which he faced a possible prison term. He died on 27 August 2015 of a heart attack before going to trial.

Risa Vetri Ferman American lawyer

Risa Vetri Ferman is judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, and was formerly District Attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Before winning election as the county's prosecutor, Ferman worked for 15 years in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. In November 2007, she became the first woman elected District Attorney in Montgomery County. In 2011, Ferman won re-election and began her second term as District Attorney in January 2012. She is the daughter of Barbara and Sal Vetri, and sister of restaurateur Marc Vetri and television director and producer Adam Vetri.

<i>Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary</i> 2019 American film

Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary is a documentary produced by Liam McEwan, and directed by Eli Pedraza, which explores the allegations of child sexual abuse against singer Michael Jackson, by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The documentary presents interviews with individuals described as having been omitted from HBO's work, who counter the version of events presented in that work.

<i>Square One: Michael Jackson</i> 2019 documentary film

Square One: Michael Jackson is a 2019 investigative documentary directed by Danny Wu. It focuses on the 1993 case in which Michael Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy. Through interviews with people closest to the case, the film makes a case for Jackson's innocence. The interviews showcase statements from trial witnesses, Jackson's nephew, and legal assistant to the prosecutor in 1993.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept records on the American singer Michael Jackson, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act posthumously on December 22, 2009. In response to perceived threats against Jackson and allegations of child sexual assault made against him, the FBI made several investigations into Jackson, none of which led to charges.

Donald McGuire was a laicized American Jesuit priest and convicted child molester. Prior to his conviction, McGuire was a prominent member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and had served as confessor to Mother Teresa. He died in 2017, while serving a 25-year prison sentence.


  1. 1 2 3 Broder, John M. (March 1, 2005). "Jackson Prosecutor Tells of Abuse and Conspiracy". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  2. "Tom Sneddon dies at 73; D.A. Best known for prosecuting Michael Jackson". 3 November 2014.
  3. Davis, Matthews (June 6, 2005). "Trial health problems for Jackson". BBC News Online. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  4. "Jackson cleared of child molestation". The Guardian. Associated Press. June 13, 2005. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  5. "In Profile:Thomas W. (Tom) Sneddon, Jr". National District Attorneys Association. February 2003. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2008.
  6. "Uri Geller, Shmuley Boteach are on Michael Jackson's 'list of enemies'". Haaretz. September 18, 2009.